Mining of Mineral Deposits

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The Role of Limestone and Dolomite Tailings’ Particle Size in Retention of Heavy Metals from Liquid Waste

S. Farmaki1, E. Vorrisi1, O. Karakasi1, A. Moutsatsou1

1National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Min. miner. depos. 2018, 12(2):95-103

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      Purpose. The study aims at investigating the role of particle size of mineral tailings derived from limestone, limestone marble, dolomite and dolomitic marble in heavy metal adsorption, in both batch and fixed bed conditions, so as to estimate whether grinding and/or sieving is necessary for their utilization.

      Methods. Fractions of different particle size have been studied. Adsorption has been examined in batch conditions from solutions of 5 mg/l Cd, 5 mg/l Pb, 100 mg/l Cu, 100 mg/l Zn, and their mixed solution simulating electroplating wastewater, and also in fixed bed conditions.

      Findings. Total Cd and Cu adsorption is achieved on all the mineral fractions, whereas Pb and Zn show a difference up to 20% depending on particle size. Referring to the mixed solution, Cd and Zn adsorption is lower, whereas no significant differences in Cu and Pb adsorption are observed. Adsorption capacity rises up to 0.03 mg/g Cd, 0.60 mg/g Cu, 0.03 mg/g Pb, 0.60 mg/g Zn. In fixed bed conditions, metal adsorption greater than 93% is achieved. Furthermore, leaching not exceeding 4% indicates a good metal retention. Finally, Taguchi method has proven that the particle size effect is not so strong compared to other parameters, including solution concentration and time.

      Originality. The particle size of mineral tailings has not yet been investigated as a parameter affecting heavy metal adsorption. Furthermore, heavy metal adsorption has been examined from separate metal solutions and not from a mixed one. The present study aims at contributing to these two research fields.

      Practical implications. Τhe differences in adsorption between mineral tailings’ fractions with different particle size are not as high as to make grinding of minerals necessary.

      Keywords: limestone, dolomite, marble, mineral tailings, heavy metal adsorption, Taguchi method


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